Commentary | Darrelle Revis gets new lease on football life with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Star corner cried with joy at torn ACL diagnosis

adell@bradenton.comJuly 27, 2013 


Grown men don't cry, particularly football players, particularly on game day, particularly during the course of battle.

Darrelle Revis is the exception.

It may be the reason he was the NFL's best cornerback until he tore his ACL last season for the New York Jets. And it might be why he will return to that form with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

You can be assured it has earned him a spot in Greg Schiano's heart.

The Bucs head coach is a Type A personality when it comes to football. The room temperature must be set at a certain number, toes on the line, forks and knives in the right place.

But Revis can melt the ice in Schiano's veins.

Not many football players would cry from joy after learning they just tore their ACL. It's what makes Revis so unique.

It happened last year against the Miami Dolphins, when Revis lay on the ground not knowing what had happened to his body.

It flashed through his mind that his entire knee was blown out.

"I started thinking I have played six years, and it could've been gone that fast," Revis said at his Bucs training camp debut this week.

Revis heard a doctor telling the Jets trainer that it was a torn ACL.

"I just started crying because I knew I had a second chance," Revis said. "At that moment, I didn't know. This is humbling,

and that's how you have to look at it -- humbling that you get a second chance and get to play what you love to do."

This wasn't the Revis who received a bit of bad press in New York. Some said he was selfish and that all he cared about was money. Those who know him said he is a good businessman who loves the game.

In the Bucs, Revis found a team that is willing to pay for his talents and create something special that goes way beyond money.

"I've been looking forward to this since I've been here; it's been awesome to be out there with my teammates ... and just do what I love doing, playing football," Revis said. "Our expectations are very high. This is a new beginning for this team. I think we're going to contend in our conference and go from there."

History has shown that the key to ACL recovery is patience and dealing with some pain.

Revis can handle pain. Patience is different because he is what you would call football's version of a gym rat.

Typical rehabilitation from a torn ACL takes about nine months, depending on the person's age and occupation. Being an NFL cornerback makes recovery even more difficult. You are at the mercy of elite receivers who can twist and turn you like a spinning top.

So while people rave about the speedy return of Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson last year from a torn ACL, playing cornerback is different and exposes a player to more danger.

To Revis' credit, he has done his homework and conducted his own torn ACL hunt. He joined what he calls the ACL family.

You can't do too much too soon because the injury involves the whole leg, and you don't want to injure a quad or other body part.

"You hear these crazy stories. I mean people skiing, people snowboarding. They tell you all the same thing, so I'm in the ACL family," Revis said. "Guys just say work hard. It's going to be tough, there's going to be tough times, don't get down on yourself. You have to take breaks. You're trying to get back right."

There is no timetable for Revis. Schiano says he might keep him out until the season opener at the Jets. The TV networks would love that.

"We are going to take it day by day, depending on how he feels, how he looks on tape and what the trainer and general manager Mark Dominik say," Schiano said. "He looked good. He participated in most of the (first) practice."

Despite being a three-time All-Pro and considered the best at his position before his injury, Revis is anxious, something you would expect from a rookie.

The difference is that when he gets healthy he could again be the NFL's best at what he does.

Alan Dell, Herald sportswriter, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at@ADellSports.

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